Forced To Cut Cast Off

March 18, 2010

in Airport Stories

I am contacting you regarding easyJet and the way they treated me while travelling with them recently. I have not had much luck in getting a decent response from them – having sent 4-5 letters and emails to their customer services department, and all senior members of management.  I have had replies to my emails, but they always seem to skip past the crucial points – and ultimately in effect unfairly lay the blame on me.

In short – I broke my arm on a snowboarding holiday, and when I came to check in at Lyon airport, I was forced to remove my cast completely (with a Stanley knife borrowed from a news agent) while the check-in members of staff were very rude, obnoxious and seemed to find the whole situation very funny.  These staff members broke easyJet’s regulations which state “Passengers travelling with a plaster cast that has been fitted for less than 48 hours then the cast needs to be split (the split need to run along the entire length of the cast) If the plaster cast been fitted for more than 48 hours there is no requirement for the cast to be split.”  (

Unfortunately for me my medical certificate did not show the time my cast was fitted – just the date.  My cast had been on for over 52 hours, and even though I asked if the supervisor could make a simple phone call to the hospital (using my phone) to clarify this, she refused and told me that the only way I could board my flight was by entirely removing my cast.  I was left with a broken, unsupported limb – no medical help was offered nor available when I asked for help.

Making me cut my cast off breaks their regulations completely – and their duty of care towards me as a passenger.  These regulations are there to protect passengers – but this member of staff’s incompetence could have rendered my arm paralysed.  If this appalling attitude continues then I feel that another passenger may not be as fortunate as I was to escape serious injury.

Many thanks,

R. H.


{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Analise March 18, 2010 at 5:47 pm

That's really unfortunate but it does look like that EasyJet staff were following their rules. With medical privacy being what it is today it is very unlikely that an EasyJet staff would have been able to get information from the treating hospital.

I am sure you did not know what EasyJet's rules about broken limbs were when you were treated and that's too bad. If you had been aware you would have made sure your medical cert was complete with a time as well as a date. Without this information I really think that the EasyJet staff did what was reasonable and had you remove the cast.


Demotage March 18, 2010 at 6:27 pm

The rule is stupid, and just another example of how security makes us less safe by wasting time on things that are not the threat. Besides, you don't think a dedicated terrorist couldn't wear a cast for 3 days before his flight, or dummy up a letter from his "doctor".

There about 10 obvious ways to figure out on the spot if a cast is genuine.


crella March 18, 2010 at 7:15 pm

"That’s really unfortunate but it does look like that EasyJet staff were following their rules……I am sure you did not know what EasyJet’s rules about broken limbs were when you were treated and that’s too bad.'

And you think that rules like this are sensible!?


MomOf2 March 19, 2010 at 3:18 am

Did I read this correctly…. the knife had to be BORROWED from a news agent? The airline had a requirement that the cast needed to be removed but had no way to provide for that requirement at check-in?


Kad March 20, 2010 at 2:48 pm

That would have been a conundrum that would have had them scurrying around, wouldn't it?

You want me to remove the cast, you give me the tools to do it.


meme March 19, 2010 at 4:12 am

What a bunch of idiots at that airline. Commen sense has gone out the door. Are they going to pay your orthopedics doctors bill to replace the cast ? And I agree, if you are taking it off, at least have the proper tools. I bet the staff wouldn't think it was funny if it was their cast or family member.


MJ March 19, 2010 at 9:31 am



ps March 19, 2010 at 12:31 pm

you must be a caucasian or a person of ethnic appearance that looks like an assimilated citizen. Gets you nailed every time. To play it safe, throw hygiene out the window and smack an ugly woman in a chador or burkha. POOF. Problems are gone!


Kad March 20, 2010 at 2:51 pm

caucasian is white ps. Are you smoking something?

"caucasian or a person of ethnic appearance" includes everyone, even you. I'm sure your skin is a 'color'.

Women always look ugly in headgear designed by a grandparent, so I'm not sure how assaulting anyone forced (brainwashed) to wear such ridiculous garb would help.


ps March 21, 2010 at 12:11 pm

read what i said .Ethnic appearance that LOOK ASSIMILATED, as in someone not in a dirty nightshirt or chadors, burkas etc. And the point was someone in these outfits would likely get a pass while people like the poster or a granny with white hair are the TSA targets for a detailed search.


Kad March 20, 2010 at 1:20 pm

I did a little digging, and hope you see this R.H.

You were treated rudely and insensitively in France, the home of the 'shut the country down' strike?

I'm not surprised. Airline employees are usually but not always from the local peasant population (if you don't get the joke, don't bother commenting on it).

"Christopher Elliott is the ombudsman for National Geographic Traveler magazine. E-mail him at celliott [at]"

CNN does a lot of Traveller in Distress type stories, and seem to be able to help many people. EasyJet would likely respond to an inquiry from Mr. Elliot, and even though he works for National Geographic, his stuff appears on the CNN website frequently.

BEFORE you contact him, if that is what you do, do your homework. Receipts, dates of hospital stays, dates of travel, your attempts to contact the airline and their responses, etc. Something I didn't get from your post was a good sense of what kind of relief you want from the airline. Do you want a refund, an acknowledgement of your pain and suffering, payment for re-casting your arm? What do you want?

You also didn't make it clear that the people you dealt with were actually employees of the airline. This link… seems to indicate that eayjet flies to a lot of places in Europe. They have 175 planes and another 60 or so on order, so they aren't a small airline and likely employ agents at every destination, but it would be worth knowing who those people actually worked for.

It does seem that you may have been talking about security people, not 'check-in' agents, in which case you need to contact the airport directly (after reading the links above so you know your rights as an international traveller).

KNOW your rights. Here's a couple:
and from the Convention on International Civil Aviation:

The term you want to focus on is, "contract of carriage". There may be documents available from French civil aviation authorities, but I didn't look, and although I can read French, reading Continental French gives me a headache. Canadian French is much easier on the eyes.

Don't be surprised at how limited your rights are in some ways, but also how firm they are in others.

The bottom line is the airline should at least be willing to help you defray the costs (and pain and suffering) associated with performing an obviously non-recommended procedure on a recently set cast. The beauty of international travel though, is that just about everyone with the responsibility of getting your bum safely from one place to another can point a finger at someone else, when it comes to actually accepting responsibility.

By the way, did you know your rights are more limited if you booked the travel yourself, versus using an agent? In many cases the carrier has NO liability under international law.

I helped find a few places for you to learn about all this. Do the reading, and you may find relief. But don't let it drop, or else those goof's in Lyon could be getting away with murder, with the right passenger.


Kad March 20, 2010 at 2:46 pm

I meant links below.


dont think so March 21, 2010 at 10:38 am

I don't believe this story at all! If this would have happened we would have seen it on CNN. I can't believe I even took the time to finish reading the crap


Evan2 April 7, 2010 at 1:19 pm

CNN is too busy running non-news stories about Tiger Woods and 20 year old missing person cases to be bothered with something like this.


Rachael March 21, 2010 at 11:27 am

Thank you all for your comments – and sadly yes this did happen. It reached the local and national press as a result of hearing nothing but a standard response from easyJet after many emails, letters and phonecalls to their customer services, personnel manager, MD and various other bodies in management.


Gregg - admin March 21, 2010 at 11:42 am

Thanks for sharing your experience with us Rachael!


HB June 2, 2010 at 12:42 pm

The rationale for splitting a cast when flying is to avoid swelling of the affected limb within a fixed cast in a depressurised cabin, which may cause compression of veins and lymphatic vessels from the limb. If this happens, in addition to severe pain, it is possible that tissue death may occur.


Leave a Comment
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Previous post:

Next post: